Tag Archives: art

Photo Challenge: On the Verge of Night

Twilight at a Michigan lake:  time is suspended, poised between retreating day and approaching night.

Night, the beloved. Night, when words fade and things come alive. When the destructive analysis of day is done, and all that is truly important becomes whole and sound again. When man reassembles his fragmentary self and grows with the calm of a tree.

Antoine Saint Exupery

Photo Challenge:  Temporary   

Newburgh Lake, Michigan

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Fate and Heroism; a Musical Storm

Tacquamenon Falls, Michigan

As Georges Danton was to the French Revolution—“Audacity, audacity, and  always audacity!”—so Ludwig van Beethoven was to music in their time.

Beethoven battled to create a musical revolution, to free  the present from the past, a revolutionary tempest deposing  aristocratic elegance.  On an autumn evening,  I looked forward to Sturm und Drang in musical form, courtesy of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

With a biting chill in the night air, winter served notice that its arrival was not far off, and the mild, sunny days of fall must give way.  Inside Detroit’s Orchestra Hall, with its elegant decorations and muted light, warmth would well  up from the music on  stage .

The evening’s musical program began with a pleasant surprise, a mood piece unfamiliar to me.  A discordant modern arrangement followed, with the evening’s anticipated musical sparks to be struck after the intermission.

After the brief respite, the musicians, in their black-and-white formal wear, returned to their places.  The conductor strode briskly to the podium to generous applause.  When he raised his baton, the orchestra came to life, like toy soldiers suddenly animated in a Christmas fantasy.  The string section played the most recognizable opening bars in music, the staccato notes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.  Fate knocking.  Drawn in by the magnetism, the audience leaned forward in their seats.

The ominous tones of Fate were–after some lighter fare– answered by the clarion call of Heroism in the final movement, sung in shining tones  by the brass instruments.  In a liberation  of emotion, the Hero triumphed in aggressive chords driving to  the finale.  The audience, released from the music’s grip, responded with its own storm of applause.

The symphony is symbolic of Beethoven himself, or of the Revolutions of his time, if you prefer.

Strolling out again into the crisp night, I found myself reflecting that the heroic spirit of Beethoven’s Fifth lies dormant in our time.  It is perhaps sleeping in a vault with old clips of John F. Kennedy speaking, his finger jabbing the air.  Or captured on grainy film of Jackie Robinson dancing on the base paths, and  facing down the racists as he broke major league  baseball’s color bar.

Today, we are in desperate need of men and women to take up the baton, to show audacity in the face of today’s pervasive cynicism and nihilism.   Fate is knocking, yet we await Heroes to answer the call.

Ghosts in an Attic….Memories of Lake Superior

Lake Superior, Whitefish Bay

A late summer’s drive through the tractless forest  of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula led me to renew acquaintances with Lake Superior, following our separation of decades. On a remote beach, the smallest of waves lapped ashore, and the cobalt blue inland sea reached the horizon to the east and north. As ghosts from behind an attic door, wisps of memories slipped out. My thoughts returned to a train trip with my mother on the legendary Canadian Pacific Railway, and a boy staring in wonder into the inky black night, the great cliffs of the Canadian Shield brooding over Superior’s dark waters.  And of breakfasts in the dining car with white linen on the table and a waiter with a Quebec accent, the train wheels clattering over the rails, a small lake appearing suddenly out of the primeval forest, a ghostly mist rising off the dark brown water as gaunt pines watched. As quickly as they had surfaced, the boyhood memories disappeared back into the cobalt blue Superior, leaving the man to contemplate the years gone by and feel the spirit of renewal.

Hiawatha National Forest, Michigan

Photo Challenge, Waiting for Autumn: Monet and Me

Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love.

Claude Monet

I’m not Monet by any means, but he is an inspiration for my photography.  I just try to convey, through light, my feeling for places in Nature.  This being the locale for my walk yesterday as summer begins to  bid a long farewell to Michigan.  We are waiting for autumn.

Photo Challenge:  Waiting  


Fleming Creek, Michigan, as summer wanes

Photo Challenge: Water’s Texture Like Capricious Emotions

 

The texture  of water is no more constant than the spectrum of human emotions.   In a wild river, it can be rough and raucous.  While in a northern lake, its surface can reflect the summer sky as if the still water were a mirror.  And then there are those streams where water’s texture can evoke the whimsical on a warm afternoon.

 

Photo Challenge:  Texture    

Tacquahmenon River, Michigan

au sable river, michigan

Au Sable River, Michigan